Grayscale Donates $1M in Support of Crypto Advocacy Group; Will Match Another Million

Grayscale Donates $1M in Support of Crypto Advocacy Group; Will Match Another Million

Major digital asset manager Grayscale investment is donating $1million and would match further pledges from other firms

Top asset manager Grayscale Investments has donated $1 million to crypto-based think tank Coin Center. Grayscale also plans to match subsequent pledges from donors up to an additional $1 million, per an official announcement. The donate and match campaign is set to run through the end of February 2021. Grayscale’s CEO Michael Sonnenshein explains,

“While it is the responsibility of blockchain and digital currency firms to support good policy-making in DC to drive this industry forward, it is in the interest of all users, developers, investors, and other market participants that regulators are properly informed about developments in this space.”

Grayscale’s donation takes a cue from Kraken that raised over $3 million for the cryptocurrency advocacy group in 2018. Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, in a statement,

“We’re grateful and humbled by this generous commitment from Grayscale and the ongoing commitment by so many other individuals and firms who support us.”

Educating Policymakers on Cryptos

Coin Center is a Washington-based think tank created to advance public policy that benefits the blockchain space.

The advocacy group is known for fighting for Bitcoin’s cause. In 2017, Brito testified before members of the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, explaining in simple details how Bitcoin works.

At the hearing, the Coin Center chief advocated for a deep understanding of the technology before slamming restrictive regulations on it.

Last month, Coin Center formed part of the opposition against the Treasury Department’s move against self-hosted wallets. Coin Center published an expert take from C Labs executive Jai Ramaswamy, who argued against restricting self-hosted wallets to detect and disrupt illicit financial activity in support of noncustodial wallets.

Grayscale’s donation comes amidst a change of guard as a new administration settles into Washington. With the new faces at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) helms and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) comes new ideas and possibly new regulations. However, there are speculations that the Biden administration is tapping technocrats with experience with blockchain technology.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Rise in Digital Payments has India Exploring the Potential of Digital Rupee

Rise in Digital Payments has India Exploring the Potential of Digital Rupee

While India has had an often adversarial, murky attitude towards digital assets and cryptocurrencies, the Reserve Bank of India is currently contemplating whether there is a need for a digital version of its sovereign currency, the Rupee. Along with creating a crypto-based iteration of it, the RBI is also hypothesizing how best to operationalize it.

According to a booklet that was recently published by the RBI, this news covers the journey and evolution of payment and settlements systems in India from 2010-20. The Central Bank stated within its booklet,

“Private digital currencies (PDCs) / virtual currencies (VCs) / cryptocurrencies (CCs) have gained popularity in recent years. In India, the regulators and governments have been skeptical about these currencies and are apprehensive about the associated risks.”

“Nevertheless, RBI is exploring the possibility as to whether there is a need for a digital version of fiat currency and in case there is, then how to operationalize it.”

This conversation regarding the value of a digital version of India’s fiat stems from the rapid increase in digital payments; which are expected to increase threefold in the coming years. Even so, the RBI must contend with a considerable amount of skepticism, even hostility, towards cryptocurrencies from local regulators.

India’s Love-Hate Relationship with Crypto

India’s relationship with cryptocurrencies is a matter of common knowledge, having been opposed to their use for some time now. April 2018, for example, India joined China as the former’s RBI imposed a blanket ban on cryptocurrency transactions, which was only overturned in March 2020.

Though, India finds itself being the latest among a growing group of countries considering and testing CBDCs. The likes of Sweden and China having already tested their e-Kroner and digital yuan, respectively. The European Union and the U.S. are also getting work underway for a crypto-iteration of their fiat currencies.

Even so, RBI’s Governor, Shaktikanta Das has previously cooled the metaphorical jets of crypto enthusiasts; having commented in December 2019 that discussions were at an incredibly early stage.

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Author: James Fox

ConsenSys Quorum, an Ethereum-backed Ledger Protocol, Teams Up With China’s BSN

Situated in New York, and renowned as Ethereum’s globally-known ledger protocol, ConsenSys has announced that it will be partnering with the China-based Blockchain Service Network (BSN), bringing the enterprise ledger, Quorum, to China.

What sets this partnership apart from others is down to i. As part of this partnership, Quorum will be made available across 80 different cities within China; all of which operate as public city nodes of BSN’s network. Quorum was previously developed as an open-source protocol layer for enterprise applications. Quorum was also used early on by the investment giant JP Morgan.

Charles d’Haussy, ConsenSys’ Director of Strategic Initiatives, cited China’s rapid growth in importance as a hub for strategic innovation and enterprise blockchain technology:

“China is a great example of where enterprise blockchain is a strong play… What Ethereum is doing with ConsenSys Quorum is connecting people who are essentially migrating from the permissioned chain to the global chain.”

For Quorum, the announcement represents an interesting change in fortunes. From being designed as a high-security, privacy-centric blockchain solution by JP Morgan, it fell into relative obscurity for some time, before being re-housed by ConsenSys. Even now, Quorum is a name that is synonymous with the bank and investment entity, even in d’Haussy’s mind.

“Quorum was very much associated with JPMorgan, but there was also this open-source software which was available to many developers. It may not have been apparent, but there was this large audience of enterprise users, and we are now bringing to this ecosystem other products and applications from ConsenSys.”

In contrast, Blockchain Service Network (BSN) was a relatively new initiative; having been established by Red Date Technology, a blockchain-based software company, along with China’s UnionPay, China Mobile, back in April 2020. Comprised of UnionPay and China mobile, BSN consists of a number of cloud environments and portals within China. What makes BSN such a valuable initiative comes from its connections to the Chinese government; being backed through the National Development and Reform Commission.

Simply put, BSN has been rapidly positioned as a major blockchain initiative within the country’s ‘Digital Silk Road,’ with BSN has deployed over 108 public city nodes in China. Over 88 cities and public cities are connected to this ecosystem as nodes across the world.

For BSN, this partnership would enable it to “substantially accelerate” its rollout to more cities worldwide, according to Red Date Technology CEO and Executive Director of the BSN Development Association,

“After the launch, BSN will include Quorum in BSN’s training programs in 2021 to substantially accelerate the enterprise adoption of blockchain technology and Ethereum-based solutions in China.”

In order to ensure global application, Red Date’s CEO added that the partnership would include longer-standing interoperability between the two blockchain protocols. Permissioned blockchain solutions, d’Haussy explained, represented the best start to any technical journey including large firms, but that it would very much be a long-term undertaking.

But d’Haussy continued on to say that small and larger-scale suppliers lack the connection they once did, and are more receptive to blockchain technology as a means of re-establishing that same connection.

“China’s industries, which are a global network of large and small suppliers, are not integrated as they were in the past… They are jumping on coordination tools such as blockchain.”

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Author: James Fox

Monster Expiry: $100k Bitcoin Options Expiring This Friday

Monster Expiry: $100k Bitcoin Options Expiring This Friday

With a notional value of more than $3 billion, this will be the biggest expiry Deribit has seen to date, which in the light of the growing options market, will impact the spot market as well.

A record amount of Bitcoin options contracts are expiring on Jan. 29.

This monster expiry of 100k Bitcoin options contracts at a notional value of more than $3 billion will be the biggest expiry crypto derivatives platform Deribit has seen to date. However, the “uber bullish 29 Jan 52k strike needs the spot rate to advance for it to have any meaningful impact on the rest of the market; otherwise, it will decay to zero and have no delta impact,” noted Denis Vinokourov of Bequant.

The price of Bitcoin is currently seeing greens on the first day of the week, trading around $35,000. It’s to be seen if BTC will continue higher or range further after lack of momentum for two weeks following about a 30% pullback to just under $29k.

“As options become more influential in crypto, I expect increased volatility around expiry dates,” says trader AltcoinPsycho who anticipates deeper wicks in the days leading up to Jan. 29th expiry.

Interestingly, the pullback didn’t shake the market as only 61 contracts changed hands earlier last week.

“At current price levels, hedging large option notionals has a major impact on price,” noted trader and economist Alex Kruger.

Increased Institutional Interest

On Monday morning, open options contracts were worth around 250,440 Bitcoin with Deribit, which began offering the products in 2018, accounting for the majority 87.74% of it, as per Bybt. Options basically give the investors the right, not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying asset at a specified price within a time period.

Interest in Bitcoin options has risen sharply over the past few months as the Bitcoin price broke past its previous ATH of $20,000 to climb to a new all-time high of $42,000 earlier this month.

In late June 2020, OI on bitcoin options contracts was a mere 147k BTC that surged to 265.81k BTC on Dec. 23, which was hit again just last week. The highest open interest of just over 21k BTC is for Bitcoin call options with a strike price of $52,000.

Given that Bitcoin options volume has exploded, from $4.1 billion in July 2020 to $15.36 billion in Dec. and already doing $23 bln in January, so far, the expiry can affect the spot market as well.

“It reflects just how volatile [Bitcoin] has become, even by its own standards, over the last couple of months,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Oanda. “The moves we’re seeing on a daily basis now are incredible, so it’s natural that options are being more utilized.”

Due to the complexity involved in options trading, it also indicates how much-sophisticated investors are involved in trading BItcoin. Also, the more institutional adoption, the more futures, and options volumes’ will grow.

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Author: AnTy

Bank of Singapore’s Chief Economist Says Cryptocurrencies Could Edge Out Gold

Bank of Singapore’s Chief Economist Says Cryptocurrencies Could Edge Out Gold

But certain risks, such as trust, volatility, and regulatory clarity, need to be addressed first.

The Bank of Singapore is the latest institution to favor cryptocurrencies in its push to usurp gold. Optimism over the asset class is high, with the industry showing signs of more growth.

While Bitcoin and several other large-cap cryptos appear to be on the upsurge again, sentiment about the crypto market is gaining momentum.

However, many are still hung up on the leading cryptocurrency’s recent performance, and talks of the asset usurping gold as the global reserve currency have continued.

No Way Over Fiat, but Time’s Up for Gold

The latest body to weigh in on the prospect of Bitcoin overtaking gold is the Bank of Singapore. According to a report from The National news, the bank recently published a research note where it touted cryptocurrencies as a possible replacement for gold down the line.

In the report, the Bank of Singapore argues that cryptocurrencies are unlikely to replace fiat currencies – practically pouring cold water on the hopes of those who are touting the digital yuan and other Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

Mansoor Mohi-uddin, the bank’s chief economist, explained that cryptocurrencies are an inefficient unit of exchange, and central banks won’t be able to print them at will in times of crisis. However, he also explained that digital assets are more likely to become the major safe-haven asset. With the market showing significant potential over the past few years, there is every reason to believe that cryptocurrencies could easily overtake gold.

To do this, the bank believes that cryptocurrencies will need to overcome some hurdles. For one, it pointed out the need for trusted institutions that will provide custody for investors. Many cryptocurrencies would also need to be more liquid, allowing high levels of trading and other activities to take place. Improved liquidity will also reduce volatility, a problem that the crypto industry has had for years.

Everyone Loves Crypto

The Bank of Singapore isn’t the only institution pumping Bitcoin to overtake gold eventually. In a recent opinion piece, Anthony Scaramucci and Brett Messing, two executives at New York-based hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, explained that Bitcoin is ripe for investment as its ownership is now as safe as gold and government bonds.

SkyBridge Capital filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch its Bitcoin fund last December. When the fund launched fully earlier this month, the New York firm claimed that it had as much as $310 million in exposure to the leading cryptocurrency.

Investment banking giant JP Morgan has also touted Bitcoin’s chances of taking up more of gold’s market share. In an investment note, the company’s strategists said:

“The adoption of bitcoin by institutional investors has only begun, while for gold, its adoption by institutional investors is very advanced. If this medium to longer-term thesis proves right, the price of gold would suffer from a structural headwind over the coming years.”

Institutional investment is sure to push Bitcoin and the entire crypto market even higher. With government regulation expected soon, the future definitely looks bright for this fledgling market.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Celsius Network Grew 10x in 2020; ‘Huge’ Interest from Retail & Institutions for BTC, ETH & Others

Today, Bitcoin is keeping around $33,000 after recording an approximately 30% correction from January’s all-time high of $42,000.

The mainstream media and the likes of Scott Minerd of Guggenheim and JPMorgan are getting skeptical of this bull run extended further. Still, the cryptocurrency market has seen three of these bull runs and is expecting more uptrend.

According to Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius Network, “seeing a small correction is probably healthy for Bitcoin,” which is still the best performing asset class across 10, 5, or three year periods.

Not to mention, “at the same time, we are also seeing some of the other old coins close to hitting new highs. It is not just bitcoin outperforming. I think it was just a lot of migration of capital from the traditional markets, from the bond markets, from the stock markets into this non-correlated asset class,” Mashinsky said on Bloomberg.

Celsius, the second-largest asset management in the world, manages under $5.3 billion and works with over 350 institutions.

“We grew 10 times during 2020… We have seen huge adoption both in retail and from institutions,” he added.

Retail Front Running the Institutions

Bitcoin skeptics like UBS global wealth management still see Bitcoin failing due to regulatory threats and central banks issuing their own digital currencies.

However, while China is issuing a central currency, they do not promise limited supply, and just like the Fed is printing dollars, they will continue to print their digital versions, Mashinsky said. He added,

“The beauty of bitcoin is that it has limited supply. Everybody in the world knows that no one can print more of these, and the more people come in and buy Bitcoin, the higher the price is going to go.”

Besides the CBDCs, the mainstream media likes to point out how only 2% of buyers hold up to 95% of all Bitcoin. But what they miss about this data is that exchanges hold the BTC of a lot of users.

Mashinsky explains how Celsius has a bitcoin wallet with over $2 billion in it, but it doesn’t belong to one person. Unlike the traditional equities, you can’t really point to the owner. “We have 350,000 users that aggregate their coins into this wallet to earn yields,” he said.

“What we are seeing is that this is the first time in history where the retail guy got in on the next big thing ahead of institutions. The institution is just now running in,” with JP Morgan and Citi recommend Bitcoin for the first time.

The OG’s of the cryptocurrency space has been here for years, which are retail and the ones selling to the institutions.

This is why this time is different from 2017 as we see “some of the world’s smartest investors not just looking to diversify the asset class, but also generating yields and generating alpha on Bitcoin, and Ethereum and 42 other assets we manage. This is a new asset class that is now being adopted by a very broad base of investors,” said Mashinsky.

These institutions are coming in because of the macro environment. The problem is with the monetary system, which saw a half of the world’s dollars created in the last 12 months, basically when corona started.

This currency debasement is making a lot of people nervous and in their search for non-correlated assets to move away from the dollar or the euro, and because there are very, very few options, it is resulting in a stampede in Bitcoin, Mashinsky said.

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Author: AnTy

Nasdaq-Listed Bitcoin Miner Marathon Buys 4,812 BTC ($150M) for Treasury Reserves

Nasdaq-Listed Bitcoin Miner Marathon Buys 4,812 BTC ($150M) for Treasury Reserves

Marathon Patent Group, the North America-based Bitcoin mining company, has purchased 4,812 Bitcoin for an aggregate price of $31,168.

The company purchased $150 million worth of Bitcoin through the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG). Merrick Okamoto, Marathon’s chairman & CEO said,

“By leveraging our cash on hand to invest in Bitcoin now, we have transformed our potential to be a pure-play investment into a reality.”

These BTC are held in Treasury reserves, which Marathon describes as a better long-term strategy than holding US Dollars.

The cryptocurrency miner has contracted to purchase 103,060 mining machines, which are expected to be delivered and deployed by the end of the first quarter of 2022. This capacity, based on the current difficulty rate, which is at an all-time high of 20.82 trillion, Marathon would be able to produce 55-60 BTC per day.

As of writing, BTC is trading around $35,000, down 23.5% from its all-time high of $42,000 hit earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the shares of Marathon are $18.30, down from $26.39 on Jan. 8 but up from $0.40 on April 1st, 2020.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin is ‘Ridiculous’ and Unlike Tangible Gold, ‘It’s Nothing’ says Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager

Bitcoin is ‘Ridiculous’ and Unlike Tangible Gold, ‘It’s Nothing’ says Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Paul Singer

“Cryptocurrencies are nothing,” says Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer. The founder of New York-based Elliott Management sees the explosive growth in crypto assets as irrational investor activity.

“I’ve been investing for a long time, and I gave up a long time ago,” said Singer, who is worth $3.6 billion, in a recent interview with Grant Williams.

Singer said he has been trying to base his investment management activities on the concept that investors, traders, and markets are rational, which is not the case with the nascent but booming crypto market. He said,

“People try to be rational and think that they’re rational, but quite frequently they’re not. And there is hardly a better example today than cryptocurrencies.”

Singer is among those people who like tangibility as is with Gold, which will hurt your teeth if one tries to “bite a gold coin,” which means, unlike cryptos, “Gold is not nothing,” he said. This is what he said about the leading digital currency, a $616 billion market cap digital gold,

“To tell me that something that’s constructed as a computer program, where you engage in some process of sitting there in front of your computer, and after a period of time and the expenditure of a bunch of electricity a message appears on your screen that you have created something, that’s ridiculous. It’s nothing”

Investing in Bonds is Speculation

Singer’s criticisms go beyond Bitcoin and extend to the ultra-loose monetary policy of central banks as well. A frequent critic of U.S. monetary policy, he didn’t have any encouraging words for bonds.

“No institution can meet their goals by owning those bonds. They’re no longer a hedge against equity portfolios,” he added that investing in bonds now as their yields plunge into negative is engaging with speculation.

He also said that the “trillions and trillions” of dollars spent in Covid-19 relief combined with historic low-interest rates and wage pressure could shock markets.

“There’s a really good chance of a tremendous surprise and a surprise in the relatively near future,” he said on the likelihood of consumer prices spiking higher.

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Author: AnTy

Largest TopShot ‘Moments’ NFT Sale Fetches $100k; Available on the Internet for ‘Free’

Largest TopShot ‘Moments’ NFT Sale Fetches $100k; Available on the Internet for ‘Free’

NFTs are going off, and the latest sign of it was the largest TopShot sale.

Over the weekend, the digital basketball cards sold like hot pancakes, with two of them at a whopping price of $100,000 each.

Last week, FantasyLabs co-founders Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings bought a Ja Morant highlight off NBA Top Shot, a Dapper Labs product, for $35,000.

Launched in July 2019, NBA Top Shot is an NBA-licensed product that lets users purchase digital packs of cards (or “moments”) that can be instantly bought and sold through a marketplace.

Bales’ called this “the deal of the century… for the low, low (record-setting) price of $35k.”

Talking about his “Investment Philosophy,” Bales explained the motive behind spending $35k on a video that can be found all over the Internet for free. For Bales, when it comes to sports trading cards, they are “fine art” and a “player stock market.”

And the reason is the same as an “art collector might want to buy one Picasso as opposed to 100 paintings from lesser-known artists.” He wrote,

“If you believe physical trading cards have value, then you absolutely must recognize the value of digital assets; if you don’t, you’re being stubborn and/or short-sighted.”

This is because, unlike physical trading cards, digital cards are provable, unfalsifiable, make fraud mathematically impossible, scarce (having a serial number), and have a transparent and liquid market.

“Gold is to Bitcoin as physical trading cards are to NFTs,” said Bales, who believes NFTs tokens have two purposes to “generate verifiable scarcity and ownership.”

Given his interest and conviction in NFTs, Bales believes “NFTs are the future of collecting” and predicts the consensus shift on digital items from “these are worthless and not real” to “this is the best way to prove ownership, scarcity, and authenticity.”

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Author: AnTy

Uniswap Generating More Network Fees than Bitcoin; Total Fees on ETH Reaches BTC All Time High

Bitcoin has been the leader in generating more fees than any other network. But that has only been up until June 2020, when decentralized finance (DeFi) mania started kicking in.

Today, this DeFi craze even saw popular DEX Uniswap beating Bitcoin in daily fees of $2.3 million, as per Cryptofees.Info. While BTC only had $1.8 million, Ethereum is unreachable by collecting $8.8 million in fees.

Uniswap, which accounts for 48.5% of DEX volume market share, even without the liquidity incentives, saw $12.7b in traded volume, $36.543 million in fees, and liquidity increased to $3.6 billion over the past 15 days, as per IntoTheBlock.

Another DEX SushiSwap had just under $1 million in daily fees, followed by Synthetix and Balancer, but they only had about $100k to $200k.

In the past week, Ethereum did more than 3x of Bitcoin’s 7-day average fees of just over $3 million, while Uniswap recorded $2.4 million.

“It’s the first DeFi protocol, but not the last. The key feature here is that fees in DeFi benefit not only miners but also LPs and token holders,” noted Santiago R Santos, a partner at ParaFi capital.

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Ethereum entered the space in 2015, and its daily total fees in USD surpassed Bitcoin’s several times since then. But it wasn’t until DeFi exploded that ETH was able to beat the world’s largest network by a wild margin.

During the peak of the 2017 bill market, Bitcoin did nearly $21.4 million in total fees, while at its peak, Ethereum did only $4.55 million.

But earlier in June 2020, compared to Bitcoin’s $383k in total fees, Ethereum recorded a whopping $3.55 million. From here, as DeFi gained more traction, so did Ethereum fees, and this gap between BTC and ETH fees continued to grow.

At the peak of DeFi mania in Sept. 2020, the Ethereum network was used so much that it became unusable as the average fees and gas prices continued to hit new highs. On Sept. 1st, the Ethereum network received more than $17 million in total fees compared to $1.48 million on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin overtook Ethereum for a brief period, a fortnight and a small margin, from late October to early November.

Since then, Ethereum continues to generate millions of dollars in fees every day, setting yet another new record at $21.38 million on Jan. 11, the day the crypto market saw a sell-off.

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Author: AnTy